Do iPhone WebApps Have a Future in the Post-App Store World?
We've asked this before: do iPhone WebApps have a future? Sure, Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, and even Apple to some degree are all racing to own what many think will be the next paradigm shift in platforms: the cloud.
But when Steve Jobs announced WebApps as the first iPhone development environment back at WWDC 2007, the silence was deafening. Sure, many innovative games, utilities, and optimized RIA (rich internet applications) emerged -- and Apple keeps track of them on a completely non-iPhone optimized directory, but the moment the iPhone SDK was released, the momentum shifted near-instantaneously. (Even the Facebook 2.0 App managed to trump their previously dominant iPhone WebApp).
TiPb uses the WPtouch iPhone Theme to present a better experience to iPhone browsers. After all, even in light of Apple's "just the internet", they have encouraged these types of sites through their developer guidelines, and have snuck in code into iPhone OS 2.1 to allow full screen WebApps that hide the "chrome" (interface, including URL and search boxes, buttons, progress bars, etc.)
One of our readers, Christopher, also sent in word of his iWebKit tools, which seek to make it faster, simpler, and easier to develop and deploy iPhone websites.
So is there's still a time and a place for both? Is that time shortening and the place getting smaller for WebApps on the iPhone? Or will they ride the same tide as Microsoft Office for the Web 2009 (or whenever it ships) and surge ahead again, allowing native Apps to enjoy only transient dominance?